Head Teacher Update - Letter 31

4th December in School

Friday 4th December 2020

Dear Parent/Carer/colleagues

I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones all safe and well.

I would like to open by thanking all the staff for their continuing efforts to ensure our children are learning
and developing new experiences in a safe manner. As well as working in a different pattern of learning,
it is amazing the level of progress we are making in a very calm and purposeful way. We also continue
to develop our skills and experiences by coming together for numerous staff training exercises, whether
that be after school training on IT issues or in-service training linked to developing the Broad General
Education. Other “normal” activities have begun to re-emerge like re-establishing after-school or
lunchtime activities (within the bubbles); study support has re-commenced and we have held our first
parental engagement sessions to replace the traditional parents’ evenings.

Virtual Senior Parents Evening

Our first virtual event took place on Tuesday 24th November with parents and pupils meeting key
teachers by Google Meet or phone calls. We are currently evaluating the success of this new format,
however, initial feedback from parents is mostly positive. Parents have commented on the quality and
detail of the report they received and welcomed the opportunity to ask questions prior to the event and
have these answered on the night. In addition, parents appreciated the fact that they could attend
parents evening at home and did not have to juggle childcare or travel distances to attend. Island
parents and those who work away from home were also able to attend and many parents found the
experience less stressful than having multiple appointments in different areas of the school.

However, some parents expressed concerns about not meeting with all of their child’s teachers and a
small minority had not received their expected phone call. If this is the case, then we would like to
ensure that any glitches with forms or technology are resolved.

Please use the “Contact Us” section of the website if you were not contacted as expected and we will
redress this issue.

School Holidays

There has been a lot of chatter on social media over the last week or so around when we will close for
the holidays and how long will the holidays last; and will blended learning be introduced. As I often note.
Please do not take anything as fact anything read on social media platforms and remember that writers
report on early ideas, rumours or even make stories up, all of which merely serve to wind everyone up.
Please wait for official confirmation before taking as fact any story read. And here is the confirmation of
the holidays.

John Swinney wrote to us yesterday to confirm that Scottish Government, having sought the views of
the Advisory Group on Education and Children’s Issues, Directors of Education and Head Teachers
have concluded there will be no change to the published school holidays. In our case, we will break for
the holidays on Wednesday 23rd December and the new term will commence on Thursday 7th of January

The full rationale for this decision can be found here:


SQA Exams

Another hot topic of discussion online is whether or not there will be any Higher and Advanced Higher
exams, with the rumour going around that these are to be removed. The SQA are very clear at the
moment. The National 5 exams have been replaced with assessments to be completed in school (which
will be moderated, then evaluated by the SQA) and that Higher and Advanced Higher exams will run
as planned.

The timetable for the 2021 exams can be found (along with very useful study guides) here:


Our SPLT have also just published a support video encouraging our youngsters to revise now. It is
absolutely crucial that all pupils note the importance of the school assessments being done across the
year. In the case of the Nationals, all these assessments will help contribute to their actual award in
place of the exam. In the case of Highers/Advanced Highers, they are useful practice and may be used
to evidence their actual award, if the SQA are forced to cancel the exams in the future.

The SPLT video can be found here:


Please also find attached to this letter the key dates for each department’s assessments. Please
encourage your child to revise for these crucial assessments.


Another social media story that arose last week was around the partial reduction in Guest WiFi access
points across the school. This was done to stop pupils accessing non-educational sites that were
slowing down the network and preventing lessons from running smoothly. The council’s position on this
issue is that Oban High School’s WiFi is the same system as is used across all main Council buildings,
including schools. No Argyll and Bute school has a standalone pupil WiFi. The Council’s priority is to
ensure that there is a stable platform from which learning and teaching can be delivered. Staff have
reported that their lessons are running far more smoothly and that pupils learning experience is better
as a result of this decision.


Oban High School would like to sincerely thank, MacQueen Brothers Charitable Trust, for their kind
donation of a defibrillator machine. A defibrillator used in correct circumstances could result in
preventing a tragedy. The machine will be situated in the janitorial office, in the main foyer of the school.
This office is open at all times the school is in use both to pupils, staff and the wider school community.

We would also like to thank Oban Electrics (FES) for their continuing contributions and staff provision to putting up all our Christmas lights. In these dispiriting and difficult times, such festive cheer does indeed light up the spirits of young and old alike.

Pictures and videos linked to these notes of thanks have been issued via the school App. Please sign
up if you haven’t done so already.

Although we are aware of who needs help at the moment, many in our community are facing new or
increasingly difficult times as the economic impact of prolonged change to the economy begins to bite
deeper. If you are having difficulty with the IT/lessons; with money issues impacting on breakfast /
lunches / school issues; or the emotional impact of Covid restrictions on the family, please take the
opportunity to let us lend some support wherever we can.

Please call your child’s Guidance teacher or use the Contact Us section of the website in the first


I hope you and your loved ones have a lovely week ahead.

Yours faithfully
P A Bain
Executive Head Teacher
Oban High School, Tiree High School & Tiree Primary School

SPLT Revision & exam guide

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